It isn’t news to anyone that technology is dramatically transforming both the marketing industry and the wider world – but that doesn’t mean that my mind isn’t constantly blown away by the opportunities this presents in every area of our lives. I recently attended a breakfast session hosted by office design agency Oktra about embracing technology in the workplace for brand enhancement, business collaboration and workflow. We were shown how technology is enabling flexible working and therefore spatial and economical efficiencies – Oktra has extremely cool offices where clever use of technology and space has meant they have cut their real estate costs dramatically – while their tech partner Inition showcased their ground-breaking futuristic technologies. I was particularly impressed by how they have adapted VR and AR for business purposes: their Riverlight system uses AR and a marker system to bring marketing to life – the example they used was a property developer showing potential buyers around a development: the book was a regular 2D publication but the marker system allowed the AR app to take the consumer on a 3D journey into the rooms and around the building. The most enthralling aspect for us as marketers is the data capture capability of the technology which allows the brand to gain a real understanding of what the user is interested in – we can use this data to retarget the user with a bespoke experience – and we all know that customised experiences are the holy grail of marketing today.
The presenters emphasised the importance of a real understanding of the technology you are using and not just using it for its own sake – it must be used in a manner that is authentic to the brand voice and provides consumers with an experience that they find enjoyable and engaging. Topshop’s virtual reality catwalk show allowed a wider audience to experience Topshop’s London Fashion Week show as it happened and for three days afterwards, and is a brilliant example of using technology in an meaningful, non-gratuitous way to create an immersive and memorable experience that deepened the brand’s bond with its audience.
Technology is all around us and offers brands incredible opportunities to engage more deeply with their audience – particularly if that audience is the curious, lucrative digital native millennial audience; however – as has always been the case, it must be used thoughtfully and with a real understanding of both the technology and the audience in order to be a success.